I am an admitted wimp when it comes to horror movies. Ever since I was little, I could not stand them. Once, when I was seven, my older brother showed me a few clips from It (1990) and it legitimately kept me from sleeping for weeks. Until I was about fourteen, every time a trailer for a horror movie popped up on my computer or phone, I had to immediately close out of the tab. That wimpiness has carried into my adulthood and it has become a problem for one major reason: I love Halloween. Autumn is my favorite season and I’m obsessed with getting in the Halloween spirit. Carving pumpkins, putting up decorations, eating candy, and watching Halloween movies. The only issue is that so many of the movies people like to watch around Halloween are horror movies. So while most people can throw on The Conjuring to get in an appropriately spooky mood, I have learned to adapt based on my scaredy-cat ways. Over the years I’ve compiled a list of my go-to movies to get me in the Halloween mood without keeping me up at night, and I decided to share some of the highlights from that list with the public.
- Halloweentown (1998)
If you were a child in the 2000s, chances are you already know this absolute classic. If not, it’s about a 13-year-old named Marnie who learns she comes from a line of witches. Her grandma Aggie (played by the amazing Debbie Reynolds) takes her to Halloweentown, a place where magical Halloween species live. This movie is quintessentially Halloween-themed, but unless you’re scared of a skeleton cab driver, it’s perfectly safe for us scaredy-cats.
- It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966)
Continuing with the classics, this is about as classic as it gets when it comes to non-scary Halloween movies. If you don’t already watch this movie every time October rolls around, shame on you. Please correct this instantly, if only for the pleasure of hearing Charlie Brown say “I got a rock.”
- Ghostbusters (1984)
Adding another iconic movie to the list, Ghostbusters is perfect for Halloween. While Halloween has nothing to do with the setting or plot, it’s about ghosts (obviously). And considering the theme song is played relentlessly around Halloween, it has grown to be associated with the holiday. It’s very entertaining and always puts me in the holiday spirit without terrifying me, so it’s perfect for this list.
- The Addams Family (1991)
If you want a movie that is completely full of spooky vibes without being scary at all, this is the perfect one for you. It centers around a family who is obsessed with the macabre and all the high jinks that result from this. Its sequel, Addams Family Values is just as good, as is the original show from the 1960s. They’re all hilarious, they all exude major Halloween vibes, and Wednesday Addams is iconic in every iteration.
- Labyrinth (1986)
This is definitely the biggest stretch on this list. One could argue that there is literally nothing about this movie that says “Halloween.” But I disagree! It’s about a teenage girl named Sarah who accidentally gives her baby brother over to the Goblin King, regrets it, and must find her way through his complex labyrinth in order to get him back. She meets many creatures along the way who help or hinder her. To me, the premise itself and the fact that there is a Goblin King makes the movie fit in this list. Or maybe I’m just recommending it because I love David Bowie. Either way, please watch it!
- What We Do in the Shadows (2015)
It’s finally time for me to plug one of my favorite actors/directors, Taika Waititi! What We Do in the Shadows is a mockumentary about a group of vampire flatmates in New Zealand (one of whom is played by Taika Waititi) and the shenanigans they get into. It also includes werewolves, zombies, and witches. It is absolutely hilarious, not scary at all, but perfect for Halloween.
- The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
This movie is an absolute classic and should be a staple in everyone’s yearly Halloween celebrations. It’s a musical about a couple whose car breaks down one rainy night, forcing them to take refuge in a castle full of eccentric characters. It’s very entertaining and if you would like to experience it in its full glory, there will be a showing/performance of it on Halloween 30th at midnight in the Slayter auditorium.
- The Twilight Zone (1959-1964)
My last recommendation is actually a TV show and, okay, if you’re extremely easily scared, some of the episodes might be too much for you. The Twilight Zone is a series of non-related stories that are strange or eerie, usually with some sort of unexpected twist at the end. It’s shot in black and white which only adds to the eerie vibe. Personally, I love this show because it is super creepy and unsettling without being truly scary. Every time I hear Rod Serling’s voice performing the opening monologue, I get literal chills! It’s perfect for someone who wants to be spooked, but not terrified for Halloween.